5 Traits Jim Harbaugh Must Instill in San Francisco 49ers in 2012
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Harbaugh proved to be very confident during his playing career, and even now as a coach. However, he's still a humble man that has a knack for understanding and connecting to his players.
Obviously the 49ers aren't going to surprise opposing teams next season like they did in 2011. That is why this squad must remain determined and confident enough to bring a sixth Lombardi trophy to the city by the bay.
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In 2012 the 49ers must show the determination of true contenders and not be content with matching last season's performance.
After being perennial losers for most of the 2000s no one expected the 49ers to win 13 games, and beat the New Orleans Saints in a playoff game.
It was a surprise that the 49ers got to that point last season, but it would be an even bigger surprise if San Francisco doesn't get back to those heights this upcoming season.
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San Francisco must remain humble in their quest for a title.
The 49ers were within one game of the Super Bowl, but the fact of the matter is they just came within one game of the Super Bowl.
These players cannot get big headed and play as if they brought home a sixth championship. Ending the season with a winning record is a big deal, but 12 other teams accomplished the same feat.
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In 2011 San Francisco's defense played with an absurd amount of confidence as they evolved into arguably the best defense in the NFL.
However, the offense was much more stagnant.
Even though Alex Smith showed a noticeable difference in his performance last season, he needs to show even more confidence in 2012. As the driving force for the team it's up to the quarterback to establish the offense.
A more confident Smith can shed the game manager moniker if he's willing to take a few more shots down field instead of constantly dumping the ball off for short gains.
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The 49ers haven't had this many weapons on offense since Jerry Rice, Garrison Hearst and a young Terrell Owens were on the team.
It's always good to have depth at all the skill positions, but with only one ball to go around obviously everyone isn't going to be happy with their amount of touches.
The key for the offense in 2012 is to remain selfless and put winning in front of statistics.
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During the regular season the return game had no major concerns thanks to the exploits of Ted Ginn. He was a smart and careful return man with zero fumbles on 67 combined punt and kick returns.
However, with Ginn sidelined during the NFC Championship the return game was anything but careful.
Kyle Williams' returns in the championship game were dreadful to say the least, on one occasion he even dove for a catch on a punt return.
In order to avoid such mind numbing errors in the future, the return men in 2012 must put ball security in front of the big return.